Tag Archives: family

31 Days to a better marriage: You don’t have to like him.

31 days to a better marriage: You don't have to like him.

Today I have a short and perhaps odd point to make about your marriage. See, I hear this a lot, and in different forms: “I don’t like my husband. I don’t love him any more. There’s no spark anymore. We just grew apart. There’s no feelings any more.

These statements may be 100% true. But that doesn’t excuse you from the vows you made before God. Lack of feelings doesn’t give you an excuse to leave your man – it just means you need to  give more attention to your marriage. See, you don’t have to LIKE your husband. You just have to treat him with love.

Feelings are fickle. They come and go. We can’t make decisions based on how we feel. Maybe you need to start practicing love. Practice speaking in loving tones. Practice by doing acts of love for him. Practice thinking good thoughts about him.

Jesus commands us to love each other, and the amazing thing is; if you practice showing love to your husband, (or indeed, anyone!) you will probably start liking them, too! It may take a while, but consistent acts of love are the best way I know to bring those fickle feelings around.

Ask yourself: “How would I treat him if I was madly in love with him?”

Now do that.

“Fake it till you make it” is a terrible-sounding adage. But really, it is pretty close to the truth! Only, it’s not fake if you are sincere. Sincerely wanting to obey God by loving your husband. Sincerely wanting a deep, meaningful relationship with your husband. There’s nothing fake about that!

“Practice till you become” may be a better saying.

You want to know something else? There are very, very few women who are willing to humble themselves and obey God in this area. To say: “OK God, I will begin today to treat my husband with the love and respect You command, no matter if he loves me back, no matter if I feel like it or not.”

Do you realize how brave that is? That is pure faith. Faith in a God big enough to hold you. Faith that His promises are true, that He cares about you.

We hear the term ‘be brave’ bantered about a lot these days, but the real bravery? It’s not wearing a cute tee-shirt with fancy lettering – it is following God into scary waters like these.

Be brave, my friend. Love him like you mean it. Love him till you like him. Do it till you feel it.

Practice till you become.

Read the rest of the series HERE. 

31 days to a better marriage – Roles in the home.

marriage roles

You can do a quick google search and come up with a thousand differing pieces on roles in the home and what they should be. I am not going to quote research or the ‘experts’. There is only one expert in the field of family and home – and that is our Father God.

As a child of His, I am only interested in what He has to say, what He asks of me. I don’t care if it is unpopular, I only care what He says to me when I stand before Him and give account of how I spent my time.That day is coming, you know. “Let God be true, and every man a liar“, you know.

So what does God say about it? Let’s look at some verses in Titus:

“Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:4-5

This is what the older, Godly women are supposed to be encouraging; a life working at home in love, respecting their husband, being kind and sensible. It really is so simple and plain, but Satan has used unGodly people to spread lies about God’s plan.

Instead of understanding our great calling as mothers and wives, we now have to explain and justify it, and fight the feeling of ‘I’m just a stay at home mom’. We try to look put together so no one guesses that we spend our days wrangling kids and wiping spills.

But consider Timothy’s mother & grandmother. If it weren’t for their sincere faith, we probably wouldn’t have the example and blessing of Timothy.

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”  2 Timothy 1:5

What an example! That because of the lives and teaching of two generations, we have a Timothy. It doesn’t mention the fathers, you notice. Probably, they had to work long hours and were just not home much to help with the training of the children.

You see, mothers can teach and train their children to Godliness with the help of God. Two are better than one, but if our man is working long hours or gone a lot – we can still teach our children! We spend the most time at home with our children, so we are responsible.

Oh, but what if you are working full time? Who shapes and trains these young minds then? The daycare? Babysitters? Let me assure you that no one cares about your children’s souls as much as you do. Apple and Hollywood are not good substitutes for a loving mother who aches for the souls of her children.

Paul tells Timothy that women are not allowed the ministry of teaching or being a pastor, but she can be a mother. In this way, Paul is raising motherhood to the same level of ministry as being a pastor! 1 Timothy 2:12-15

What a glorious calling! Think of Susannah Wesley – one of my heroes since my childhood – she was poor, very poor, and had so many children (!!) but she was diligent in training them to God’s Word, and think of the far-reaching influence of that teaching! John Wesley has blessed thousands, and it began with his Godly mother. What if she had taken a job to earn money to relieve their poverty? The children would have missed that daily teaching that she faithfully gave them.

Should our husband help us? Of course! In my last article, I wrote about asking for help versus using him as our personal servant. Men naturally excel at most professions. I know women don’t like to hear that, but it is true! We can do almost everything men can – but it takes more effort to become great at it. Men are stronger, bigger, and have more testosterone. These physiological differences give them an edge.

Only one place where women outdo men – childbearing. Our bodies are geared towards childbearing and motherhood. Incidentally, women also have a higher pain threshold than men, which I find humorous! 😀 (childbirth, anyone?!) The way our bodies are created should be a clue to how God wants a home to work.

There are circumstances where mothers have to work outside the home for survival – I get that. And I believe God gives grace for such situations. But when we have small children at home, our first responsibility is to nurture and train them.

Men are wired to be more aggressive, to fight for their families, to protect, and serve. This serves them well in the Provider role in the home.

Women are wired to be nurturing, gentle, relational, and intuitive. This serves us well in the Nurturing role in the hime; caring for our chldren.

I am not saying it is sin to work outside the home. What I am saying, is to be wise and understand what the will of God is for you. Don’t allow the world to shape your beliefs and actions. Open the Scripture and get on your knees. Ask God what He would have you do. He gave you to these children as their mother – are you being faithful to that trust?

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 days to a better marriage – Asking for help.

31 days - asking for help

Have you ever been frustrated because your husband didn’t help you with some task? Maybe you were overwhelmed with caring for the baby, or getting a meal on, or homeschool, and he doesn’t offer help?

I remember a few times earlier in our marriage when this would happen to me. But when I took my frustration out on him, you know what he said?

“You didn’t ask.”

It wasn’t that he was forcing me to ask for help – what he meant was; he didn’t notice that I needed help, and I didn’t ask.

That was not his fault – that was mine! Why was I getting frustrated with him when I didn’t even ask for help? Maybe I thought: “if he really cared about me he would notice!” But that is just ridiculous. Your husband can’t read minds any more than you can! Don’t ask him to.

Ask for help when you need it. It is OK to ask for help. But ask in a gentle, kind manner. Don’t bark out commands like bossy mom. 😉 Remember to treat him as you like to be treated. He might not see what needs done – after all, you are (probably) the one who spends more time in the house.

Don’t use him. Yes, we all need help, and we are a team. That doesn’t give you license to kick back and take it easy the minute he walks in the door. He has been working too, you know. He is not your slave or personal assistant. Don’t throw everything under the guise of: “well, it’s his house too!” to excuse your laziness.

Maybe you work together all day. That is great! So continue working together at home. If you need help, ask. But don’t become his mother, and don’t turn him into your slave. Work in unity.

Be careful of your tone of voice. Are you asking or ordering? I am so used to telling my kids what to do, that sometimes I unintentionally just tell my husband what to do, too! That’s not cool. I try to work on that, to watch my tone and inflection. I want to be respectful of my husband in even the smallest areas of life.

Read the rest of this series here. (scroll to bottom of page)

31 Days to a better marriage – The rewards!

31 days to a better marriage, the rewards of a good marriage

Are you getting a little overwhelmed and bogged down with thinking about all the sacrifice and effort that a good marriage takes?

Me too.

So today, I wanted to remind us WHY we work on our marriages, why we sacrifice ourself, and put in the work. We do it because it is worth it, right? Maybe you are in a spot where it doesn’t feel like it IS worth it. If so, it could be that you need to put more work into your marriage before you start seeing the results.

A good, strong, loving marriage does not happen overnight. It is the result of intentionally loving one another, year after year. Intentionally sacrificing Self, intentionally building up a a deep reserve of good memories and intentionally forgetting the bad.

Here is a list of the benefits and rewards you can expect, if you both are seeking God first, and loving each other unselfishly:

Deep contentment. I don’t know why I never hear this, but it is one of my favorite parts. When I think of my husband, I get this feeling of contentment – like I have a hundred million dollars in the bank.

Security. We are secure in the love we hold for each other. We trust each other. I know I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me, or flirting with other women, and he has the same security in my love for him.

We enjoy being together. There isn’t much better than sitting next to him on the couch at the end of the day, sipping coffee. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we don’t. Either way is fine. Just being together is wonderful.

We have fun! Laughter, jokes, (he has a wonderful, dry sense of humor!) teasing…

He holds me when I cry. He doesn’t always understand my female feelings (shucks, even I don’t understand them!) But he always holds me and comforts me when I am feeling sad – even if I tell him “I don’t know why I am crying!!”

He encourages me in my dreams. No matter if it is raising chickens, (an exercise in futility, it seems) growing vegetables, (same!)  exercising, or writing a book. He is always encouraging and telling me to go for it!

We pray for each other. No one cares about me like my husband, and no one knows better how to pray for me than him. I value his prayers highly!

We balance each other out. His steadiness helps my impulsiveness. My touch of crazy brightens his quietness. 😀 My constant talking gives him someone to listen to, and his strength balances out my weakness.

We sharpen each other. Sometimes, we see something in the other one that they can’t see – so we (gently) call it out. This is something we do more as we grow in our love for each other. In other words, we didn’t do this much as young marrieds, and I think that was wise.

Too often young people get all self-righteous about something they see in their partner, and want to set them straight. Please be very, VERY careful about this. It is better to pray and let the Holy Spirit show them their faults, than to be harsh. Husband OR wife – be careful. Relationships can be ruined by too much ‘setting straight’.

But as we get stronger and wiser in our relationship, we can give and take gentle corrections. And it has been very helpful for me, when my man has shown me something in my attitude or actions that is unChristlike. I have blind spots where “I” am concerned, so it is a favor to me, if he tells me how I come across to others. Then, I can take that to God and let Him show me how to change.

We can be ourselves. In this politically-correct world, it is a rare place where one can say an opinion without someone mis-interpreting it. (thanks Facebook!)

Intimacy. Surely one of the best parts of marriage, but I will leave it at that! 😉

We are nearly at 17 years of marriage, and I feel more ‘in love’ every day! No, I am not stretching it. By the grace of God, our marriage has grown into a wonderful bond of love and care between us, and I pray it continues to grow. I am not saying this to brag, because I do have the benefit of a great husband. But I want you to be encouraged that you can get here too! Especially if you are in those first 10 years – don’t give up!! Keep working on it. Be careful that you hold God’s Word higher than any book, preacher, or counselor. (including this series)

The rewards can be better than you could imagine! Not that we don’t have troubles – finances, loss, disagreements, health, etc. Yes, we have had it all. But we keep coming back to God’s Word and each other, determined that Satan won’t separate us, by God’s grace!

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 days to a better marriage – Dealing with in-laws.

31 days to a better marriage, dealing with in-laws

Are you having trouble dealing with your in-laws? Are you frustrated that your husband seems to like them more than you? I want to help. I have been married for nearly 17 years, I have lived with my in-laws on two occasions, and very near them for several years. I know what it is like to be a young wife who live with or near her mother-in-law.

First, I want to say that I have great in-laws! My mother-in-law is a wonderful person and I enjoy spending time with her. I always have. But I did not always enjoy living with them. (my father-in-law passed away during the second year of our marriage.)

Two separate times, we lived in the same house as my husband’s parents. I was 20 and 21 when we lived with them. I was learning to be a wife and mother, and I was very young and inexperienced! I thought I knew ‘way more than I actually did, and to make it worse, I was very loud and opinionated. (sigh)

Anyway, my in-laws were very kind to me, because they were filled with Jesus. But still, I was very sensitive about my mothering, and I’m sorry to say that I did not always take advice well, and I didn’t pull my weight around the house. We lived in their house a couple months at a time.

Later, we built a small, 4-room house on my mother-in-law’s property. Our houses were only 100 yards apart – if that. By now, I had 2 kids and was expecting a  third. It was a recipe for disaster, relationally, but with Jesus in our midst we managed to live there 1.5 years and never have a fight or a real problem.

Here are my tips to have a healthy, vibrant relationship with your in-laws:

Remember that they are your husband’s family.

I don’t care how mean, manipulative, or nosy they are; they are the people who raised your husband. They are his parents and siblings – treat them with respect. Maybe even your husband doesn’t like them. Still, treat them with respect. They deserve respect for their position, if not for their character. We are only given ONE family. One true, blood-relation family. Don’t toss them aside or strain those family bonds just because you are ticked off. Work on relationships.

Humble yourself.

As a newcomer to the family, it is easy to feel like you have to carve out a spot for yourself. When your in-laws do things differently than you or your family did them, it’s easy to want to set them straight. You need to lay aside your family traditions when you are around your in-laws. “We never allowed football during Thanksgiving lunch!!

Sorry hun. That is your family tradition, not a moral issue. If your new family (and your husband) watches football during Thanksgiving lunch, then you must watch it too – happily, I might add! Try to learn the way they do things, and the stories behind them. Integrate. Figure out how this family works, and celebrate them! Remember; the Golden Rule still applies – treat them the way you want him to treat your family!

Take advice.

Your mother-in-law will see you differently than your mom does. If she has advice for you – take it! I have learned so much from my mother-in-law. She is a wise lady and –once I got over myself — I realized she had a lot of wisdom for me – because she knew my husband well!

Keep that in mind. Your mother-in-law loves your husband and knows him well. If you have a question about him, she is a better person to go to than your mom. In fact, I personally think that God gave us mother-in-laws to teach us how to be a good wife. After all, they have been married to this specific strain of men much longer than us! 😀

I know not all in-laws are as wise as mine, not as kind and gracious. But I believe most of them are well-intentioned, and a little humility on your part will do wonders to diffuse tension, and create peace. Maybe yours doesn’t always give you good advice. You can still listen respectfully, and thank her for the advice, even if you decide not to follow it.

Love them well.

Maybe they do intrude on your business – love them anyway. Maybe they are nosy and bossy-  love them anyway. Jesus never said to love your friends; He knew we’d have no problem with that. He told us to love our enemies. I think our ‘enemies’ are anyone we don’t get along with. If you find impossible in your own self to love them, then get on your knees and pray. Ask God to forgive you for being unloving, and to fill you with His love. If you are serious and genuine – He will!

You can’t say a quick prayer, get up and say: “See? I knew it wouldn’t work!” Pray daily. Pray with intention. Pray humbly… what if YOU are actually part of the problem?

Maybe you are the problem.

Hear me out. Can you say that you have never started a fight? Have you ever gotten ticked off at your in-laws, and then told your husband the whole sorry tale of woe? Did you make yourself sound pretty good, but them sound terrible? Because you knew you could influence the way he sees the situation? Ok, who is being manipulative now, hmm? I know there are truly difficult people out there, but I also know there are a lot of whiny, complaining, selfish young wives, too. I am going to call it like I see it: you need to stop stirring the pot!

“So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18

That is a clear command in Scripture, and I want to obey it. Sometimes you do all you can, and they still hate you. But especially in family situations; try really hard to keep peace!

If the in-laws are truly difficult, here is what I want you to do:

Stop complaining.
Stop talking bad about them to other people, including your husband.
Try to find something you DO like about them, and tell your husband, or better yet – tell your in-laws!
Examine your own life, see if you have been a bit of a jerk.
Pray for yourself first, and then for them.
Pray for wisdom for your man, as he has to deal with his wife AND his family. 😉

I am a huge advocate for restoring and repairing family relationships as much as possible. For one thing, God commands it. For another, we have lost so many family members, that I can’t take them for granted anymore. You never know how long they will be here. What if your mother-in-law died tomorrow? How would you feel?

That happened to me, you know. Not my mother-in-law, but my father-in-law. One day I received a phone call that he’d had a heart attack, and I had to tell  my husband that his dad was gone. Let me tell you, I was glad that we had a good relationship! I have no regrets, and I can’t wait to meet him again in the presence of Jesus. 

Today’s Challenge: Thank your mother-in-law for raising a good son. Text, call, in person or a real thank you card! 

Leave a comment and tell me: What is your biggest struggle with your in-laws? 

Read the rest of the series HERE.

Don’t help with fall processing if you are pregnant.

A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calvesThe sun shone weakly through the clouds, but the sharp west wind blew all the warmth away before it reached the ground where I was standing. I pulled my gloves on, and then turned to the car where my kids were waiting.

“OK, kids,” I said, “just play in the car, or, if you need something, I will be over there in the barn, OK? Just be careful of the calves when you walk through the corral – they might kick if you get to close to their legs.”
“OK, Mom,” Jenni agreed, picking up the crayons she had brought along.
I cracked open the windows, and then put the keys in my pocket. I wasn’t about to have them start the car, or anything crazy like that! I checked everything again – they had water, snacks, toys, blankets… they will be ok, I told myself, I can watch them easily.

But it was still hard. Hard to walk across the yard, and leave them there in the car. I was still paranoid from our recent loss. There is no water in the canal, I thought, there is no way for them to hurt themselves. Relax, Kay! Loosen up!

I flipped the latch up on the gate, and slid the bar back. The gate squealed as I pushed it open. I shut it and walked gingerly around blobs of cow manure. The wind blew cold on my neck, so I wrapped my wild rag tighter, and zipped up my coat as far as possible. I instinctively put my hand on my pregnant belly, as I looked over to the other side of the pen, where Cliff and Bill were working on the first batch of calves. I was a little late. Oh well. This shouldn’t take too long, I thought. I was here to help Cliff with the fall processing of yearlings.

A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calves

I stepped into the lean-to part of the barn, and watched as Cliff quickly injected the bawling calf with a needle full of medicine. There was a slight sizzle as Bill pressed the red-hot branding iron against the side of the struggling animal. Smoke curled up, and when Bill removed the iron, there was a perfect brand on the hide. Cliff pulled some handles, and the chute clanked open. I moved aside as the calf bolted from the chute – bawling his frustration.

“What should I do?” I asked Cliff.
“You can keep the chute full. Come, I’ll show you .”
He led the way back to the holding pen, and showed me how to run 6-8 calves into the small round pen. The small round pen had a gate that could swing completely in, forcing the calves into the chute. Cliff handed me a paddle, and went back to front of the chute to work on the next one.

I waited while the guys worked on two more calves, then I prodded the rest of the calves in the chute up towards the front. There were several swinging doors in the chute, that only opened one way, so when the little animals were through, they couldn’t go backwards, they could only go forwards. They heard their buddies bawling, so they dug in their heels, and bacedk up. But the swinging doors kept them from backing through, and an occasional shock from Bill’s electric prod would send them into the front of the chute.

I walked back to the rest of the calves, all bunched in the corner of the alley. They just bunched together more, till they were almost climbing over top of each other. I gingerly prodded one calf, and sure enough, he kicked. High and fast. I yelled in alarm, and then shook my paddle at them. Little beads inside the paddle made a racket – designed to scare cattle, so the cowboys wouldn’t have to use their voices so much. It’s known as a rattle-paddle. The calves ignored the paddle, so I had to resort to poking and yelling at them.

A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calves

I finally got one to run away from the huddle, then they all tried to follow him. I ran to the gate and nearly got run over when I tried to shut it in front of a barreling calf. I shook my rattle-paddle at it, and it galloped off, back to the corner. I went through the gate, then latched it.

Then I opened the gate to the little round pen, and tried to get them to run in there. Yeah. Right. They weren’t going anywhere near That Place. I ran around after them, shaking my rattle, and yelling.  Poking them when I thought I could do it without getting kicked. Finally, three calves ran into the pen, and I quickly slammed the gate behind them. I looked at the chute, and they were working on the last calf. Six calves while I rounded up three? This was not good. I will have to get faster than this if I want to keep up with them.
A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calves
I jammed them as far forward in the chute as possible, and then ran back to the alley. I gritted my teeth, and took a deep breath. I shouted at the calves, and shook my rattle-paddle, and whacked them as hard as I could. They bunched up closer. I managed to get a small bunch to break away from the rest, and into the small pen, but despite my best efforts, Cliff had to come back and help me run them into the chute.

I was starting to pant, and my stomach was churning from the smell of burning hair. The wind was blowing the smoke and stench from the branding right through the lean-to and back to where I was working. It was a bad smell anytime, but my sensitive pregnant nose was nearly overcome. I felt like throwing up. I swallowed a few times, and willed my stomach to settle. I walked back to the end of the alley, trying to get as far away from the smell as I could. The smell was not so strong back there. Or maybe it was just overpowered by the rank odor of fresh cow poop. At least its a better smell, I thought.

“Mom?” Frank was climbing up the fence, straddling it he said; “I need to go to the bathroom.”
“There is a bathroom in the vet room. Go to Daddy, and he will show you where it is, OK?” I looked over to the car. Jenni’s head was visible in the car, but what caught my attention was the car itself. The wipers were flopping, the right turn signal was blinking, and the door was hanging open. Help us all, I thought. We are gonna have a dead battery soon. I clambered over the fence, and went to shut off the lights. I gave Jenni instructions about what her and Franklin were, and were not allowed to play with in the car.
A Ranch Mom: Processing yearllings

Back to the alley. Running. Shouting. Prodding. Waving my arms. Slamming the gate. Pushing the gate in the round pen as hard as possible, and then realizing that the calves were a lot stronger than I was, even if they were only a few months old. I got splattered with cow poop when one went right in front of me. I poked one, and the calf kicked so fast and close that I felt the air from its dirty hoof, as it came within millimeters of my hand. All the while, the stench of burning hair was floating out over me. The wind no longer felt cold. I was sweating. My stomach was churning. I was getting madder and madder at the calves. I would’ve kicked them if I hadn’t been so afraid of being kicked a lot harder in return. (kicking is not recommended – it was my first experience working calves, and I never knew how frustrating they can be! )

Finally, I managed to fill both the chute and the holding pen. So I went up and watched Cliff and Bill. They branded, ear tagged, and gave shots in a smooth rhythm. Never making one extra move, just doing everything in a efficient, calm way.
A Ranch Mom: Processing yearlings story. #fallworks
The afternoon had slipped away into evening before we finished.  I was bone-weary, my feet almost had blisters on them. The sun was sinking, and the wind was getting colder, as I walked slowly back to the car. All I could think about was a hot shower.

And bed.

I sat down in the car and smiled at my kids.

Written in 2010. 

31 Days to a better marriage – dealing with kids.

31 days to a better marriage - kids

When you get married, you aren’t thinking of dealing with kids. At least, most of the time we aren’t! (there are exceptions, I understand) Usually we are in love with this handsome man – planning a life of fun and happiness. Somewhere in there, we jot down a space for ‘having a baby’, and that’s about it. We don’t plan for the colicky afternoons or the puking at night or the temper tantrums at Grandma’s house.

But they happen.

And while that stuff is bad enough, then you have to decide how to discipline, when to discipline, and what offense is worthy of discipline! That is what I want to write about today, because I feel it causes more stress than the actual ‘work’ that kids bring.

Differences in discipline.

Even if you agree on discipline methods, you may not agree on timing. I thought we agreed on discipline, but with our first child was young, I realized that I had very little idea what he thought about it. I always thought I was the tough one, but come to find out, I am actually a big pushover with the kids. Now not all the time, but most of the time, I am the softie. And I don’t say that as a compliment to myself, either! I get irritated at myself for being that way. I see kids that are totally out of control, and I tell myself: “Kay, this is why you have to say no!” Seriously, young mama: say no. Kids need to hear the word before they go to school.

Anyways, so when our first couple of kids tried out their naughtiness, we reacted differently. And I can tell you; it threw me for a loop. I assumed we’d agree on this, like we agreed on everything else. We never had any big fights, but we did disagree at times. (not every time) And I am ashamed to tell you – I did not react well. I tried to bully and nag him into seeing things my way. Thankfully,  my husband is not a puny pushover. We had discussions on the subject, and you know what? Nearly 100% of the time, I would see he was right and I was wrong. Not because he persuaded me, but because God gave Cliff  wisdom that He didn’t give me, about how to lead the family.

If your husband loves God, and is truly trying to follow His ways, you can trust him to make the right decisions. Even if he makes mistakes, you can trust him to lead you. You continue to respect your husband, and follow his leading. If you honor God, God will honor you. And if your husband desires to be a Godly father – God will honor that, too. Even if his methods are different than yours.

I made a resolution that I would always support him in front of the children, and if I had an issue, I would discuss it with him later, privately. I felt the kids needed to see Dad and Mom as a united front. Unfortunately there were a couple of times where I failed at this. But most of the time, I stuck to that.

But what if your husband is too strict or too harsh, or maybe not strict enough?
There is a solution to this.

You train the children to be decent little humans.

If you train them to obey, then they will listen when Dad tells them something, and he won’t have to discipline them. If he is lax and you are stricter – that is harder. But again, you train them, because you are with them most of the time while they are small. Then even if Dad allows them to get away with more when he is around – they will still be decent small humans.

What if he doesn’t discipline the kids?

You can’t just throw up your hands and say: “well, my husband won’t do it so why bother?” No, you have a responsibility to your children. If he isn’t training them, you will need to do it. Some husbands have gentle personalities, and have a hard time dealing with the conflict that  discipline brings – so you do it!

And please, whatever you do, don’t undermine your husband’s leadership. No matter what your disagreements are on child training, discuss it with him privately. Try to pick a good time, when you are both rested and not already upset with each other. If he doesn’t want to discuss it, just drop it. You are the one who spends the most time with them, so just step up and train your kids to be decent.

What if he is too lenient?

If your husband is more lenient than you, be thankful that he can balance you out! Go along with his ideas and enjoy the ride! You can be tougher on the kids when they are with you, but again; never undermine his authority.

Never talk ill of him to your children, or indeed, to anyone! Always speak respectfully of him to your kids, your mom, your girlfriends – everyone. Train your kids to respect their dad. Point out his amazing coolness and remind him of all the good things he does for you.

Today’s challenge: Ask yourself if you have been respecting your husband’s methods of child training. Have you been undermining him – especially in front of the kids? Be honest with yourself. Take a few minutes to just really think about how YOU relate to him in this area. Pray. Ask God how you can be a better support to him, and what you can do to help him raise decent small humans.

Note: Our kids are getting older, and we are past that hard stage of little kids who needs lots of training. And you know what? We agree nearly 100% of the time, nowadays. I am so thankful for a godly husband who leads our family with love and gentleness and wisdom.

31 days to a better marriage – dealing with finances.

31 days to a better marriage - dealing with finances

Finances.

That dreaded subject! If you are wealthy, maybe this isn’t a problem, I don’t know. But for most folks, we have to learn how to deal with money as a couple. In fact, I have heard that finances are one of the top causes of divorce. Not the lack, as one might think, but the handling of it.

Often, there is a saver and a spender in the marriage. We are wired differently, so it’s no use going on about which is best. I personally don’t think it matters – what matters is how you work together.

Use your strengths.

My man doesn’t enjoy budgeting, paying pills, figuring out how to deal with all that stuff. But I do, sort of! Now, it’s not my favorite thing in the world, mind you, but I can do it. Plus, I have more time to deal with it since I am at home. So I do the paperwork and watch the budget, and he brings home the bacon! :)

This works pretty good for us. I’m not perfect at it – I have forgotten to pay bills, yikes! But it is what works for us. You may be the opposite. It doesn’t matter who takes care of bills and budget, but someone should! Work together to figure out where your strengths are.

Don’t spend more than you should.

I hear wives doing this all the time; buying things they can’t afford. Please stop this! It is just wrong. You are supposed to be a team, pulling together. It shows a dreadful lack of care and humility, when you constantly overspend! He works hard to provide for you, the least you can do is stay in your budget. Maybe you work and earn your own money. That’s fine, as long as you aren’t running up bills for him to pay, or not paying your share of the bills!

  1. Don’t buy if you have to use credit. Do you really need that new outfit or gadget? Be content with the things you have, Jesus says.
  2. Don’t whine about what you can’t afford. He knows when times are hard, it just makes him feel bad for not being able to give you that new car or house. Be thankful.
  3. DO try to lower bills when possible. Shop sales. Buy off the clearance rack. Just don’t buy as much. Give simple gifts. Try to save some money each pay period.
  4. DO be thankful and grateful for what he provides. Tell him. Be cheerful.When the calves don’t bring much, trust God and keep a sparkle in your eyes. Remind him that God will provide, and you can figure this out – together! 
  5. DO pray to God to provide your needs. Don’t complain to your girlfriends, don’t complain to anyone. Just take your needs to God.

To summarize:  Trust God to provide, work together on your budget, be thankful for what he provides, live within your means. Honor God in this area, and He will honor you.

Today’s Challenge: Thank your man for working hard to provide for you. If you have been overspending, apologize and humbly ask him how you can be a better support with finances.

How is the challenges going for you? I’d love to hear in the comments!

31 days to a better marriage – The Foundation.

31 days to a better marriage

Today I begin a month-long series on marriage. I want to spend the next 31 days focusing on my marriage and I am challenging YOU to spend a little time on yours! :)  I am joining  Write 31 Days for a blogging challenge. I will be sharing little bits of our story and tips for growing closer as a couple.

The Foundation.
If you want a strong house that stands the storms of life, start with a solid foundation. Jesus Christ is that strong foundation in a marriage. All the answers you need for your marriage are found in God’s Word. What does the Bible say about marriage?

  1. Become one.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Not two people co-existing, not roommates, but ONE. Two people, blended into one, yet still individuals. Doesn’t God think of the best things?! This means you don’t carry on with your plans for your life as if it only concerns you. You stop and discuss things with your husband. (I’m writing to wives, primarily, although much applies to both. :) ) Career, vacations, days out, evenings, weekends. You build a life together – not two separate lives that intersect over dinner.

2. Submit to your husband. 

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24

Oh boy. Here we go, right?! No one likes these verses. But there they are. We could try to explain  them or just avoid them altogether, but there they are. I believe that it is a clear as can be, that wives are to submit to their husbands. Oh yes, I know all the excuses and wild for-examples. For the record; no, I do not think you need to submit to your husband if he asks you to sin. But that is the rare exception, isn’t it? Mostly, we just want an excuse to live the way we want, not submitting to anyone.
And that’s all I have to say about that.

3. Respect our husband.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Respect is such a powerful thing. I mean, it can change a person’s behavior! If you don’t believe me, start to purposefully show respect to your husband. See what happens. If you haven’t respected him till now, you may be surprised at how he begins to love you. Respect begets love.
You respect him – he will love you. Shouldn’t he love you first? Shouldn’t he have to earn your respect? Yes, in a way. But even if you can’t respect him as a person, you can respect his position. God has placed him as the one responsible in your marriage, so respect that position.

4. Love each other.

 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; Romans 12:10

Love each other fervently. Love each other the way you desire to be loved. Be understanding. Be gentle. Overlook small things. Serve. Set your mind to love your husband well. Ask God for wisdom in this, too. Every day, get up and ask God “How can I show my husband genuine love today?”  Do this for 31 days, and I believe you will find a difference in your heart and attitude.

Won’t you join me for the next 31 days, as we look at some ways to deepen and strengthen our marriages?

Comment with one thing that you feel is essential to a strong, Godly marriage. I’d love to hear from you!

Today’s challenge: Look up and read 5 verses about marriage in the Bible. We must begin reading our Bibles again. No matter how much we respect Christian leaders, we must start listening to God. Spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God to show you what He thinks about marriage.

Day 2  -Committment                          Day 17– Romance vs. Love
Day 3  – What is Love                           Day 18
Day 4 – he’s changed!                           Day 19
Day 5  – Happiness                               Day 20
Day 6  – Finances                                  Day 21
Day 7  – Kids                                          Day 22
Day 8  – in-laws                                     Day 23
Day 9 – Church disagreements          Day 24
Day 10 -Big stuff                                   Day 25
Day 11 -Introvert vs. extrovert           Day 26
Day 12 -READ THIS!                               Day 27
Day 13 – Asking for help                       Day 28
Day 14 – roles                                        Day 29
Day 15 -Disagreements (fights)          Day 30
Day 16 – Liking him                               Day 31

Cowboy Poetry – The Ranch Wife.

ranch wife

First published in Working Ranch Magazine.

The Ranch Wife
by Kay Schrock

The cowboy is a dashing figure
With wide-brimmed hat and jangling spur.
He’s the hero of the big screen
Riding and roping in his blue jeans.

But there is someone behind the scenes
Who tends the babies, and cooks, and cleans.
She’s not well-known to the public eye
Her life is obscure under western skies.

Up at dawn to fry the bacon
Wash the clothes, and feed the children.
When her cowboy needs help, she is called
If errands need run, or calves need hauled.

When the neighbors come – she cooks the food,
For branding and shipping and pregging, too.
She knows how to drench a leppy,
And what to do, if it’s not too peppy.

She takes a turn at the night-calving –
Dreaming of sleep she could be having!
But when the calves sell for a good price,
When her man cleans up so nice,

When she watches a stunning sunrise,
Crimson and gold – cov’ring the skies.
When she tucks her babies in bed,
Still chuckling inside from things they said,

When she rides the prairies wide,
She feels a thrill of joy inside.
She thanks God again for this wonderful life,
Wanting nothing else but to be a ranch wife!

Cooking with mamaMom and babyranch coupleIMG_0839